Church Planting vs. Status Quo: What Are We Really After?
The status quo is not a bad thing. If everything was constantly in flux, then little progress would be made. The status quo is important in local church ministry. Healthy, biblical structures and organizations are necessary for the sanctification of the saints and Kingdom expansion. We pastors should not feel guilty for maintaining the status quo…at least to a point.
As I have shared before about the stewardship of Kingdom innovation, we must remember if Jesus is building His church (Matt 16:18) and we are filled with a dynamic Spirit (Eph 5:18), then we should expect change. However, this expected change should include that which comes with the gospel breaking through new frontiers, not just an increase in the status quo.
I have been involved in pastoral ministry for 19 years. And for the past six years, I have helped pastor the second largest church in Alabama. Whether I was shepherding a house church or a megachurch, here are two things I have learned about progress:
First, pastors—and most church members—want stability. Even the most progressive leaders desire routine and the existing state of affairs. This is a good thing…to a point.
Second, pastors—and most church members—frequently mistake more of the status quo for Kingdom innovation and healthy progress. Evangelicals love quantity. If a little of what we are doing is good, then a lot of it must be great. We make the assumption that great Kingdom advancement is being made due to the numbers. Bigger is better. So, more of bigger is best. For example, trace the influence of U.S. megachurches from the 1970s through 2018. Much of what has been valued by evangelicals is related to more of the status quo, not gospel advancement through new cultural frontiers.
Quantity was, and remains, king.
Start more small groups. But no one asks how many of those small groups were started with new believers.
Start more churches. But no one asks how many of those churches were planted from the harvest, instead of shifting the sheep around in the Kingdom.
There is nothing wrong with more numbers, but how about some numbers that reflect the multiplication of disciples, leaders and churches among the 5 billion, among the 3,200 unengaged-unreached people groups, or among the 280 unreached people groups in the United States?
If we only deliver a lot more of the status quo, then our people (and us?) will be satisfied. Others will sing our praises. But such is not the way of the wise Kingdom leader.
This article originally appeared here.